The Bucs rewind to their glory days with the hiring of Lovie Smith. Smith brings instant recognition and a command of respect from coach that has a proven track record.
It's what drew the Glazers to Lovie. Familiarity and comfort has made this the perfect reunion.
"When we began our coaching search, we focused on finding a strong leader with a proven and established track record," said Bryan Glazer. "We searched for a man who would not only command respect among his players, but stand tall as a symbol for our team in this community."
Tony Dungy and Derrick Brooks wanted to take in the day with their friend, but couldn't. Dungy had a funeral to attend in Minnesota and Brooks is with the Seminoles in California for the National Championship.
Mike Alstott, Donnie Abraham and Shelton Quarles were in attendance to show their respect and support. Alstott sees Smith hiring as a return to the past -- a winning past.
"I think this is exactly the direction this team is going to be in," said Alstott. "They have an experienced coach that has a great track record. Most importantly he's a great guy. He's a relationship guy. He's going to give you a plan. He's going to look you in the eye. Like he said, he's going to say, 'Here it is, lay it out. I'm going to teach you how to do it, show you how to do it and you've got to go do it.'"
Lovie Smith was Shelton Quarles' linebacker coach from 1997 to 2000 and Quarles learned very quickly: If you want respect, you better show it.
"One time in practice, he gave me a look and I kinda of looked back at him. He said, 'Son are you eyeballing me?' From that point on I knew I never should look at him like that and never did it again and I became a starter. So, it was a good lesson learned for me."
Smith has had months to watch his new Bucs from afar and sees plenty of talent to win with. It's part of the reason he's hear. The question is, is their enough already for Smith to make this a quick turnaround?
"I think so," said Mike Alstott. "But as Coach mentioned, and I agree with him, let him get to work and I'll tell you later. I don't want to talk about it. He doesn't want to talk about it. Nobody wants to talk about it.
"We'll see. That's what our goal is and we're going to try to prove it. It's hard to win in the NFL. Especially in the first year, taking over a team is hard, but it can be done."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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